Johnny and Amy Barnes in their hidden garden, near the flour drawer from Amy's mother's home that they've made into a flower box. | Nicole Kunze

The Utah State University Extension and the Utah County Master Gardeners Annual Hidden Garden Tour will feature five Lehi gardens this year. The tour will be held Friday, June 14 from noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the 14-garden tour and are available online at https://hiddengarden.org.

The five Lehi gardens in the Hidden Garden Tour are:

  • Fox Garden, 1230 East 900 North
  • Ibarra Garden, 759 North 1400 East
  • Collier Garden, 1272 East 500 North
  • Barnes Garden, 552 West 1200 North
  • Hawke Garden 765 North 1150 East

“When they called and asked if we’d be in the tour, we told them our yard isn’t beautiful like some of these other ones. We feel like it’s just functional, but that’s what they wanted,” explained Lehi’s Johnny Barnes. The Barnes’ one-acre property is definitely functional, but it is also beautiful, with mature trees providing shade, raised garden beds with a sprinkler system Johnny designed, a greenhouse, and playground equipment that rivals a city park. Barnes constructed a root cellar years ago where potatoes and carrots stay fresh from fall until June. There’s even a rabbit house with its own fenced yard and mailbox.

The rabbit house and mailbox in the Barnes’ backyard garden | Nicole Kunze

“This is our release. We can come back here and we’re away from the world,” said Barnes. He and his wife Amy built their Lehi home in 1976, adding to the home and yard throughout the years. Although there are plenty of ways to relax and enjoy the Barnes’ hidden garden, they’re usually working in it instead of taking advantage of the shade in a hammock.

“I enjoy the work in the garden. I get really excited about a freshly cut lawn. There’s nothing better than that,” said Johnny Barnes.

All but one of the yards in the Hidden Garden Tour are not professionally landscaped, inspiring young and inexperienced gardeners to experiment in their own yards. Each of the 14 gardens on the tour has a “mystery” plant somewhere in the yard and attendees can try to guess what it is. The tour can start at any of the gardens and a booklet with information about each garden is available at every home. Each has a host table where tour-goers can show their tickets. “Every year we spend hours searching for homes with amazing gardens to showcase for you. Just like a home show, you will gain ideas to use in your own home garden,” said Karen Robinson, one of the organizers of the Hidden Garden Tour.

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